Recipients of Water Seed Grant Initiative announced

Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) have selected seven multidisciplinary teams as recipients of the FY2020-21 Water Seed Grant Initiative, “Research, Engineering and Extension: Creation and Deployment of Water-Use Efficient Technology Platforms.” The three Texas A&M University System agencies are providing $1,136,627 in funding for the grants for 20 months across Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.

The projects and investigators are:

  • Native Texas Ornamentals for Municipal Water Use Efficiency: James P. Muir, principal investigator, Amibika Chandra, Ben Wherley and Bill McCutchen of AgriLife Research; Chrissie Seagars of AgriLife Extension; and Jorge Alvarado of TEES.
  • Development and Evaluation of a Novel Sensor- and Crop-Model-Based Decision Support Tool for Efficient Irrigation Management: Srinivasulu Ale, principal investigator, Curtis Adams and Yubing Fan of AgriLife Research; Emi Kimura of AgriLife Extension; and Jim Wall and Keith Biggers of TEES.
  • Gradient Nanostructure-Enabled High-Performance and Energy-Efficient Water Purification: Shiren Wang, principal investigator, and Hong Liang of TEES; Anish Jantrania of AgriLife Extension; and M. Girisha Ganjegunte of AgriLife Research.
  • Integrated Variable Rate Chemigation for Pressurized Irrigation Systems: Dana Porter, principal investigator, of AgriLife Extension; Thomas Marek of AgriLife Research; and Jiang Hu of TEES.
  • Development of a Camera-Interfaced Autonomous Smart Irrigation System: Jorge Alvarado, principal investigator, and Jean-Francois Chamberland of TEES; Rebecca Grubbs of AgriLife Extension; and Ben Wherley of AgriLife Research.
  • A Photocatalytic Process for the Continuous, Large-Scale Treatment of Turbid Water: Sreeram Vaddiraju, principal investigator, of TEES; Terry Gentry of AgriLife Research; and Juan Anciso of AgriLife Extension.
  • Creation of an AI-powered Next Generation Home Irrigation Controller: Charles Swanson, principal investigator, and Guy Fipps of AgriLife Extension; Srinivasulu Ale of AgriLife Research; and Radu Stoleru of TEES.

John Tracy, Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) director, said the projects focus on research, development and deployment of innovative technologies and management approaches to improve the use, and increase the value, of water to support agricultural and municipal communities across Texas. TWRI administered the grant process, including the request for proposals, the review process and the project account setup.

“This year’s projects address a wide diversity of water management issues across Texas, from improved irrigation management in the Panhandle, to water quality improvement in streams, to the development of more drought tolerant landscaping for Texas’ urban cities,” he said.

The purpose of this initiative is to provide resource investments to develop long-term relationships with water management agencies and seed larger project efforts that address high priority water availability and security issues for Texas

The teams, which had to include investigators from all three agencies, were encouraged to use the funds to create new technologies, such as sensor networks, precision irrigation, autonomous systems, information management systems and other computational methods and tools.

Planning for the next round of the water management grants program will begin in the spring of 2021 to identify projects to be funded during FY 2022-2023.


As the former communications manager for TWRI, Kathy Wythe provided leadership for the institute's communications, including a magazine, newsletters, brochures, social media, media relations and special projects. 

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